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August 4, 1928 – DeSoto is founded

On this day in 1928 Walter Chrysler founded DeSoto in an effort to enter the mid priced auto market in order to compete with makes such as Oldsmobile, Willys, Studebaker and Mercury. However, Chrysler acquired Dodge soon after DeSoto made its 1929 model year debut, giving Chrysler two mid priced brands. For the 1929 model year DeSoto sold 81,065 cars, a first year record that stood until 1960. Chrysler Corp priced Dodge slightly above DeSoto at first and was relatively successful but in an attempt to boost Dodge sales they flip flopped in 1933 and almost killed the DeSoto brand when the short wheel based vehicles received the Airflow bodies. While successful on the long wheelbase Chrysler chassis, it proved unpopular on for DeSoto, and it struggled through the 1934 model year. The brand regained ground with the introduction of the Airstream in 1935. In 1942 DeSoto became the first American brand to offer powered pop up lights on a mass produced vehicle. The DeSoto sold relatively well in the post-war era, but the 1958 economic downturn hurt sales, causing a 60 percent drop from 1957 figures. Sales continued to slide in 1959 and 1960. On November, 30, 1960, just 47 days after the 1961 models went up for sale, Chrysler Corporation announced it would terminate the brand. There were a series of factors that contributed to the downfall of the brand, including the late 50s recession, as well as heavy competition in the mid price market from GM and Ford. The last DeSotos were shipped in December 1960.  Pics1929 DeSoto, the first model year for the company.1935 DeSoto Airflow SG Business Coupe. The Airflow was not popular on the short wheel base. – By Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA – 35 DeSoto Airflow SG Business Coupe, CC BY 2.0,1961 DeSoto Fireflite, one of the last DeSotos manufactured. -By Stephen J. Brown from Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA – 1961 DeSoto Fireflite, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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